Military veterans Daniel Barclay (top left), Keith Striby (bottom left) and Youseff Elkassis (bottom right) are three examples of military participants in the Energy Department’s Industrial Assessment Center program that is helping prepare these soldiers for life outside the military as engineers.

Memorial Day is not only an important time to honor those who have given their lives in service to our country, but it’s also a time to think about what we can do to set veterans up for success when they return home. The Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) program, sponsored by the Energy Department’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO), is providing veterans an opportunity to build new skillsets and join the next generation of energy-savvy engineers. The program is open to all engineering students at participating colleges and universities, but many veterans find that they can use the program to further develop many skills they obtained through their service. Employers actually seek out IAC graduates because of the unique blend of hands-on experience gained through conducting energy assessments at manufacturing facilities and communicating the findings of their assessments, which can help companies save money. This makes veterans graduating the IAC program highly attractive to employers when they return to the workforce. Here are a few examples of veterans thriving in the IAC program.

Keith Striby just finished his first year at Oregon State University (OSU). He is a retired U.S. Navy electrician who used to serve primarily aboard nuclear submarines. In addition to taking a full course load during the regular school year and summer, Keith also serves as the IAC equipment manager for his school. He’s been able to apply his background knowledge in advanced electrical systems to help small- and medium-sized manufacturers save energy and increase productivity.

“I was thrilled to find out that I would be applying a lot of my past experience with the Navy while attending classes at Oregon State,” Striby said. “The [Industrial Assessment] Center has been a great place to work, and I’m excited about the opportunities that may come from my time here.”

Daniel Barclay is a mechanical engineering student at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). He has 24+ years of service in the U.S. Army as an Armament Systems Maintenance Warrant Officer. His experience identifying and troubleshooting malfunctions in electrical, hydraulic, and fire control systems and instruments for the Army has helped him when conducting IAC assessments.

“The United States military provided me with a lot of very practical ‘soft skills’, but the IAC at IUPUI has enabled me to gain an indispensable knowledge of industry and manufacturing,” Barclay said. “The IAC at IUPUI has provided me with an amazing opportunity to help companies in my state save money and reduce emissions, while providing me a practical knowledge of manufacturing equipment and practices.”

Youseff Elkassis is a mechanical engineering student at San Diego State University (SDSU). He served in the U.S. Air Force for four years as a Contingency Contracting Officer and was connected with the SDSU IAC through the Troops to Engineers program. Now a Lead Student at the SDSU IAC, Youseff works with the SDSU IAC Director to develop assessment reports, coordinate assessment teams, and handle administrative duties. He also helps train new students and represents SDSU at national IAC student meetings.

“Not only have I learned how to apply my coursework, I've learned quite a bit about the intricacies and challenges faced by manufacturing facilities when it comes to utilizing energy. I feel competent discussing equipment usage, energy usage, and various steps in the manufacturing process for many different industries,” Elkassis said.

Veterans like these are improving the skills they learned during their service and offering a huge benefit to small- and medium-sized manufacturers who they provide with energy assessments. The IAC program gives engineering students the tools and abilities they need to be successful and competitive in the workforce, and veterans frequently enter the program with a strong skillset which they can improve upon. The Energy Department is proud to offer this hands-on training program to those who have served and protected our country.

To learn more about the Industrial Assessment Center program, click here